TENNIS

Halep on Citi Open: “You can feel the vibe”

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WASHINGTON, August 1, 2022 (by Michael Dickens)

The CitiOpen, one of five combined ATP/WTA events held in the United States, resumes Monday in Washington, D.C. It’s one of the premier summer events in the nation’s capital. Dating back to 1969, the Citi Open benefits the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation, the nonprofit owner and beneficiary of the tournament. The idea behind the tournament was to make professional tennis accessible to all Washington athletes and fans.

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While the ATP tournament is one of 13 elite 500-level events in the world – and the only one held in the United States – the WTA 250 event marks the return of women’s tennis to Washington after a three-year respite. . Both Citi Open events will be held at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center in northwest Washington, the longest running professional tennis event at the same venue in the United States.

As the week-long Citi Open begins after a sold-out qualifying weekend, the honor of playing the tournament’s first main draw match at William HG FitzGerald Stadium goes to the two-time Grand Slam champion and current No. 16 worldwide. Simona Halep of Romania, against the 120th qualifier Cristina Bucca from Spain from noon (6:00 p.m. Central Europe).

The stadium’s order of play also includes two other afternoon matches: an all-American match between Denis Kudla and qualifier Michael Mmoh followed by Andy Murray of Great Britain against Mikael Ymer from Sweden. Then, under the lights, it will be the American legend Venus williamsnow 42, who received a wild card in the main draw, against the qualifier Rebecca Marin of Canada followed by a doubles bout featuring Nick Kyrgios of Australia teamed up with the American Jack Sock versus Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador and Jean-Julien Rojer From the Netherlands.

In total, there are 22 men’s and women’s singles and doubles matches in the first round (10 men’s singles and two men’s doubles, eight women’s singles and two women’s doubles), plus the continuation of a suspended men’s doubles qualifier by the rain on Sunday. evening on the Monday schedule.

The Citi Open represents a homecoming for Halep, who is playing in Washington for the first time since 2017, when she reached the quarterfinals. It’s been 134 days since the last time Halep played on a hard court. She also has a new trainer in Patrick Mouratoglou.

“It’s really nice to be back” Halep said at her Media Day press conference on Saturday. “I love this tournament. All the people are welcoming me – they’re super nice. So, yes, I’m happy to be here.

Halep was asked how she would compare the Citi Open in Washington to other tournaments. Exactly what does she find attractive?

β€œI like the people here. They are super friendly; they are super nice. All children ask for photos. You can feel the vibe” she said smiling.

β€œI like the conditions. Not the weather because it’s too hot, but the conditions. Everything around this tournament is beautiful.

β€œIt’s a great tournament. I’m glad it’s back for the WTA.

No. 1 seed Pegula feels at home at Citi Open

The last time there was a WTA event at the Citi Open, three years ago it was won by Jessica Pegula the United States. The Buffalo, NY native, whose family owns the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League and the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League, is now the highest-ranked American woman ranked 7th in the world. She is back at the Citi Open as the top seed and looking forward to defending her title.

Pegula revealed during a Media Day interview session over the weekend that she felt right at home playing the Citi Open. “I think every player has this tournament, a few tournaments, where they like to play,” she says. “This tournament, I’ve always had good vibes here.”

Monday afternoon, Pegula will play 20 years Hailey Baptista Washington, DC native ranked No. 148, in a first-round match between two Americans.

“I have always played well here” Pegula, 28, said. β€œI’ve always had very good results here in the past. Even before winning the tournament, I had very good victories here.

Pegula admitted that after winning the 2019 Citi Open title, it gave him confidence that “I can be at this level and win at this level, perform at this level day in and day out.”

At the start of this season, Pegula was a quarter-finalist at the Australian Open and the French Open. She was also a finalist at the WTA 1000 Mutua Madrid Open. Fast forward, the Citi Open represents his first tournament since becoming America’s No.

“Yeah, that’s pretty crazy to think,” said Pegula. “I guess that was a goal, but at the same time, I think my goal every week is just to, like, I’m still working on things and getting better. I’m still focusing on that.

β€œIt’s so cool to get into American swing, American swing, with that kind of name next to my name. It’s really special.

Seeds advance from men’s qualifying draw

The top three male seeds from the weekend draw qualified for the Citi Open main draw. Seed #1 Taro Daniel of Japan scored a pair of straight wins over the Americans Noah Rubin and Alex Rybakov. Seed #2 Dominik Koepfer from Germany and seeded No. 3 Michael Mmoh of the United States both won twice – neither dropped a set – and qualified for the 48-man main draw. Also moving up to the No. 6 seed Wu Tung Lin from Taiwan, No. 8 seed Thick headed Gojo from Croatia and seeded No. 9 Yosuke Watanuki from Japan.

β€’ Entering the women’s main draw was: No. 2 seed Rebecca Marin of Canada, which rallied to defeat sachia vickery United States, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-3; Seed #4 Cristina Bucca from Spain, seeded No. 5 Mirjam Bjorklund from Sweden and unclassified Louisa Chirico the United States. Seed #1 Wang Xiyu from China, who lost to Chirico, was added as a lucky loser.

Around the Citi Open

β€’ Champion of the Prague Livesport Open Marie Bouzkova from the Czech Republic withdrew from the WTA 250 singles main draw due to a schedule change. She was replaced in the draw by lucky loser Wang Xiyu of China, who was the highest ranked player in qualifying and lost on Sunday.

β€’ No. 2 seed Emma Raducanuwho will open against the qualifier Louisa Chirico from the United States, is also playing doubles at the tour level for the first time. She teams up with Clara Tauson from Denmark and will play the No. 3 seeds Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic and Monica Niculescu from Romania.

β€’ Raducanu is working on a trial basis with a new coach this week, Dmitry Tursunovwho recently coached the current world number 2 Anet Kontaveit and previously guided Aryna Sabalenkawho is ranked 6th.

Monday’s Citi Open order of play

By the numbers

Andy Murray started the season ranked 134th in the Pepperstone ATP rankings. Today, Murray is ranked No. 50 in the world. Britain’s former world No. 1 is 7-2 lifetime at the Citi Open, where he was runner-up in 2006 and reached the quarter-finals in 2018, his most recent appearance in the singles draw. . Murray opens against Sweden’s Mikael Ymer on the stadium pitch at 4 p.m. local time (10 p.m. Central European time), with the winner advancing to face No. 15 seed Aslan Karatsev of Russia.

β€œQuotable…”

β€œWe all grew up together. We are all very close friends. At the same time, we all want to be better than each other. It’s been a kind of extremely healthy competition between us for a long time. We are all getting better and better, so I think it will continue like this.

– Taylor Fritz of the United States, the 12th-ranked American in the world, at a pre-tournament press conference on Sunday on whether other American players are pushing him to want to improve.

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